Symphony: Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) is among the most famous orchestral works of German composer Paul Hindemith. The symphony is based on themes from Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler, which concerns the painter (in German, “Maler”) Matthias Grünewald (or Neithardt). Hindemith composed the symphony in 1934, before he had completed work on the opera. The conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler asked him at that time for a new work to perform on an upcoming Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra concert tour, and Hindemith decided to use themes from the opera in a symphony as a ‘trial run’ for the music. Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic gave the first performance on March 12, 1934. The first performance outside Germany was given by the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra in October 1934, conducted by Otto Klemperer. Other performances include the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra in 1936, conducted by Daniel Sternberg. The symphony was well received at its first performances, but Furtwängler faced severe criticism from the Nazi government for performing music that seemed to oppose party ideology. Hindemith completed the full opera by 1935 but, because of the political climate, its premiere was delayed until 1938 in Zürich, Switzerland.
Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini in Boston March 29, 1974:
[via Zdenka Pregelj on Google+]